Ridout Barron


Study finds disabled people fear discrimination

A poll conducted in Toronto has once again brought to light the struggles of the disabled community to find and maintain employment. The poll, commissioned by the CIBC, suggests that only half of all disabled Canadians are employed in a full-time or part-time capacity. This is true here in Alberta as well, where many disabled people fear discrimination on the basis of their disabilities. 

The information uncovered by the poll mirrors the results of a similar study conducted by Statistics Canada two years ago, in which it was determined that the employment rate for disabled people fell far short of the national average. When compared to an employment rate of some 79 percent for the general population, a rate of only 49 percent for disabled people is a large gap. The results of this poll shed light on the reasons for this disparity. 

Those polled overwhelmingly reported that their unemployment was a direct result of their disability. While some people within that group are hindered by the disability itself, many were concerned about the fallout of potentially having to discuss their disability with an employer. Only 23 percent said they would be comfortable having such a conversation, citing fears about discrimination as a major reason for their reluctance. 

The outcome of the poll shows that much work remains to be done here in Alberta and throughout the country in terms of breaking down the stigmas associated with disability. No Canadian should have to face discrimination for a visible or invisible disability or illness that impacts their ability to do a job effectively. Rather, they should be supported as valued members of the work force. Those who face discrimination have a variety of legal options available to them through experienced employment law attorneys. 

Source: therecord.com, "Only half of disabled Canadians have a full or part-time job: poll", Michelle McQuigge, Jan. 17, 2017

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